Sunday, 19 January 2014

Fluorosis - A Worst curse a Human can face

Fluorine is added in drinking water and supplied in United states and many other countries in small amounts to prevent tooth decay, but in some parts of the world this fluorine is found naturally more in  the ground water. Some places of the world has excess fluorine due to Industrial contamination , few natives get exposed to excess fluorine due to the heavy domestic usage of coal but the worst situation would be when your underground water is mostly polluted with fluorine naturally.

India is the second most fluoride effected country due to the naturally polluted underground water in few districts which are mostly back warded. Down the south of the country , In the state  of Andhra Pradesh and only hundred  miles away from it's Capital city "Hyderabad" which is world famous destination for IT and ITES projects is Nalgonda District.

Nalgonda being very adjacent to Hyderabad has not seen any significant growth unlike other Hyderabad surrounding districts and has it's own reasons and one of them is undoubtedly Fluorosis.

The excess fluorine consumption leads to the decreased strength in bones and teeth and that is due to the calcium destruction. The consumption of Fluorine could be due to Inhalation ( coal burning ) or drinking. As the underground water of Nalgonda is highly polluted with Fluorine, the rural people and their live stock have no other option other than depending on the ground water and this leads to Fluorosis.

The negative effects  of fluorosis vary. While development is stunted in many victims and never seem to age, in other cases they may look old beyond their actual age.

Nalgonda, the district of of around 3.7 million is believed to be one of the most Fluorosis effected area in the world as per WHO.

How would you have felt if your legs are of bow shaped as shown below?

One may even have completely bow shaped body and the teeth would be yellow in color and with cavities. The bones get week and the sufferer cannot even walk properly.

A 40 year old man can still be shorter and can look like the one who is "7" and the 11 year old may look very older than the actual age.

Is the issue so critical or so highly challenged in this modern day life with highly advanced scientific system?

The experts says "NO" as the area with highly polluted underground water is restricted only to some parts of Nalgonda. Hence by providing safe drinking water through pipe lines or by setting up the water purification plants can easily help the government to help public.

The district of Nalgonda is fortunately blessed with one of the largest river being flown through it. The most fluorine affected areas are hardly 60 to 70 miles away from this running river and there is also one of the India's largest water reservoir (NAGARJUNA SAGAR) in the district.

Hence, bringing water through pipes is not a big deal or even suppling water through digging a connected canal.

Imagine , In a fastest developing nation like India and that too an area which is just miles away from IT hub and one of the India's largest river doesn't has the access to safe drinking water.

Shame to the nation and shame to the government of Andhra pradesh but it was successfull to get this shame full drawback get ignored by International media.

The aid from the state government and non-governmental organizations has been very less. Historically help  for fluorosis victims has been slow and halting. In 2005, for the first time, about 3,000 fluorosis victims began receiving financial assistance from the government. But critics said the monthly stipend of 200 rupees or about $4 was nothing as the average monthly income in Nalgonda is $20.

There were many agitations and petitions by public to seek help from government from past more than 5 decades.Three decades ago with the help of Netherlands , the state government could built 20 water treatment plants to remove fluoride from drinking water,  This went on for few years only as the negligent state government failed to maintain the water plants and when they fail things switched to as usual.

For over two decades , the people of fluoride zone urged for the arrangements to provide water from the passing Krishna river which is not more than 25 miles away from most of the areas.

Surprisingly, this Krishna river (Nagarjuna sagar Project) provides water for drinking and crops to almost four districts but fails to provide water to it's own district.

 The adjacent districts like Guntur and Krishna gets most of the % of water from this project whereas 90% of the lanf sunk for the construction of this water project was of Nalgonda district but due to insignificant political influence the district doesn't have the access to it own naturally gifted water.

"This is one of it's own kind on the planet as you dig the well in your house and get access to no water"

Finally with lot of agitations and little media exposure, the state government in 2004 agreed to provide Krishna drinking water to Nalgonda district and the cost of the project was estimated to be only of $600 million which is not aa big deal for a state like Andhra pradesh which is one of the well developed states in India. The tunnel work has not been completed yet.

Amsala Swamy who is 29 year old from this region looks like a child has been an  advocate for the other  victims.  He has met 5 Prime Ministers of India  and three Presidents in New Delhi, the capital of India, to represent this problem,” Mr. Swamy expressed in an interview in his home in the village of Sivannagudem.  he cried “This disease affected me when I was in my mom’s womb. No other child should suffer like me.

Few people go with Alum technique where in particular proportion of alum and lime is added to defluoride the water but there has been not many researches done on this method to find out any effects of Alum usage in long run.

What is the better way to overcome this problem which is ruining the lives of millions?

A simple solution:  Complete the project of providing water through pipes from Krishna river. 

This project is not yet completed due to lack of interest by public representatives. The district falls under the Telangana region of the state which is politically pushed back and public representatives from this area hardly gets chance to rule the state. In the past 50+ years the public representatives from this Telangana region got the opportunity to rule the state for less than 15% and this shows the ultimate dominance of the Seemandhra region on telangana and how it snatches away the resources by power.

Atleast, maintain the defluoride plants with the dedication which were installed with the financial aid of some charity organistations.  Yes, It is the shame to government that many plants run on the help of charity organisations.



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